Korean start-up lands in US • Pilot & Airplane

SAN JOSE — South Korean start-up Plana has settled in the United States to prepare to apply for an FAA type certificate for its five-seat VTOL aircraft.

The company recently opened California offices in San Jose and Irvine, providing easier access to US aviation security regulation and potential US partners.

The Plana team is already testing a prototype of the fifth-generation hybrid-electric aircraft, which is expected to carry a pilot and four passengers on flights of more than 500 km.

To achieve the desired combination of payload and range, Plana plans to use a powertrain consisting of an as-yet-unspecified, off-the-shelf turbo-generator, electric motors and batteries. Initially, the generator is intended to run on standard jet fuel, but a possible switch to hydrogen fuel is being considered.

The design released in early April shows four tilting rotors, installed in pairs at the wingtips and a canard, and each with an independent electric motor. At the rear of the hull are two pusher propellers.

Mobility start-up Ghenus Air has now signed a contract for twenty aircraft that will be used by the future operator. The company, which launched earlier this year, plans to expand its air taxi services from its current VIP car service business model to places like the Korean capital Seoul and Los Angeles.

Plana is also preparing to participate in the K-UAM Grand Challenge Urban Air Mobility Demonstration Program organized by the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in the second half of this year.

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